How to Communicate Effectively with Your Teen

As a parent, you may have experienced some challenges with communicating with your teen(s). Maybe you argue about social media usage, academic performance in school or the lack of quality time he or she spends with you.

Avoid discord and disconnection with your child by using one or all of these tips....

Be mindful of your tone and words you use. Your teen may have a hard time accepting a dialogue with you if he or she perceives your delivery as being harsh, condescending or attacking. Consider your approach. As yourself the following question, “Is what I’m suggesting criticizing or affirming?" "How would I feel if the same words and tone were being used with me?"

Give your teen assurance.  Your child's belief that he or she can discuss concerns and personal issues with you is paramount to trust and a healthy, solid relationship. Teens will face many trials during their adolescent years, so allow your child to know that you are available to listen to his or her concerns and can be non-judgmental and impartial. Emotional support and guidance are critical ingredients in successful navigation through challenges.

Practice communication and teamwork. The best way to do this is to to find an activity that focuses on the strengths and qualities of your teen. This is a great opportunity for you to learn a new skill that your teen has acquired or for you to learn and practice something new together. Tandem projects or ones that require helping each other, such as a ropes course, can be wonderful for bonding.

Say the words, “I am so proud of you” to your child.  Sometimes, your teens needs to hear that you are proud of them despite their flaws and shortcomings. Share your pride using specific examples so there is clarity and understanding. Make sure your sentiments are heard. Express your gratitude which can help to increase positive emotions and reinforce an open and healthy dialogue..

Remember, your teen needs your support and guidance even in difficult situations. Steer clear of blaming and lecturing and provide constructive feedback when necessary. Be present in the moment and offer respect and empathy. A mindful approach to parenting will reap tremendous rewards.